Muskegon, Michigan, February 1, 2023— Njioma Grevious received the $50,000 Robert Frederick Smith Prize at the 2023 Sphinx Competition in Detroit on January 28. The 23-year-old violinist is slated to perform Marcus Norris’s new violin concerto Glory and Hector Berlioz’s Reverie and Caprice in early March with West Michigan Symphony. Conducted by Music Director Scott Speck, the program will also include Mozart’s Symphony No. 35 “Haffner” and Haydn’s Symphony No. 94 “Surprise.” Sponsored by the Howmet Community Fund at the Community Foundation for Muskegon County, the concert will be held at 7:30pm Friday, March 3 the Frauenthal Center, 425 W. Western Avenue. For tickets, starting at $19 for adults, $10 for students, call 231.727.8001, visit the Frauenthal box office or purchase online at www.westmichigansymphony.org.
The national Sphinx Competition is an annual event that offers young Black and Latinx classical string players the opportunity to perform before an internationally renowned jury and be mentored by top industry professionals. As the 2023 first prize winner, Njioma Grevious (pronounced En-jo-mah) will receive the $50,000 Robert Frederick Smith Prize and a number of solo appearances with major orchestras. Njioma was also awarded the $5,000 Audience Choice Prize.
A resident of New York City and Washington, D.C., Njioma Grevious came from a musical family and began violin at age 4. She completed her undergraduate studies at The Juilliard School, where she took time to perform regularly for the medically vulnerable, retirees and children. She has regularly taught elementary students from underserved communities, especially in New York, through the Opportunity Music Project. During her time in Muskegon she and composer Marcus Norris will be visiting young musicians in WMS’s new Tune Up after-school string program at Marquette and Oakview Elementary. The two will also join Scott Speck for a special Lunch & Learn at The Block, held at noon on Thursday, March 2. This free event will provide the community an opportunity to meet Grevious and Norris in person, learn about their lives and careers, and enjoy hors d’oeuvres provided by Kuntry Cookin’.
Before attending Juilliard, Njioma toured in Germany, Spain, Argentina, the Czech Republic and The Netherlands and performed in Carnegie Hall and Boston’s Symphony Hall as a member of the Boston Philharmonic Youth Orchestra. She was a scholarship recipient for many years through Winsor Music and Boston’s Project STEP string training program for Black and Latinx youth. This led to the opportunity to perform during a White House State Dinner hosted by President Barack and Michelle Obama.
An anchor cultural organization headquartered in Muskegon, West Michigan Symphony is a resident performing organization at the Frauenthal Center, where its eight-concert season is the most visible part of a larger artistic enterprise of far-reaching community benefit. WMS is a member of the National Alliance for Audition Support, supporting the work of The Sphinx Organization to increase diversity in American orchestras by offering Black and Latinx musicians mentoring, audition preparation, financial support, and audition previews.